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At Work At School

An Afton Partners Blog

All Posts

ESSER: Our Latest Window to Unjust Public Education Funding

School systems across the nation are continuing to face a unique challenge: effectively distributing the influx of education funding that came with the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). Yet headline after headline places much of the blame on schools themselves for their spending struggles, arguing that they are too slow to distribute… Continued

Iron Sharpens Iron: Collaboration Amongst Memphis Charter School CFOs

When I think of Memphis, Tenn., I think of resiliency. The vote to disband Memphis City Schools, seceding into six separate school districts, proved to be an egregious example of intentional segregation. That choice deepened existing opportunity gaps facing Tennessee’s highest-need students, while allowing school funding inequities to persist. But Memphis Shelby County Schools and… Continued

Afton’s Charter Management Organization Cash Planning Best Practices In Response to COVID-19

Amid the uncertainty brought about by the Coronavirus, Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) are faced with many daunting challenges, and at Afton Partners we understand that the most pressing challenges involve ensuring the safety of employees and students while continuing to provide quality education. And the broader impact of the virus will include financial challenges and… Continued

Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck

At a recent conference hosted by AEI and the Fordham Institute, experts, including Afton’s Scott Milam, gathered to share their thoughts on how to “Get the Most Bang for the Education Buck”. Through three panel discussions, the experts unpacked topics such as the “why” behind funding and budget challenges, how to stretch the school dollar,… Continued

Finance for Equity & Outcomes: Afton’s Discussion with the Broad Academy Fellows

In September 2019, Afton’s Carrie Stewart and Katie Reed had the opportunity to discuss resource allocation as a lever for equity and driving student outcomes with fellows in the Broad Academy and their finance leads through The Broad Center. This group of highly motivated, accomplished education sector professionals are driving excellence and equity on a daily… Continued

Defining “Principal Autonomy”

School systems we work with here at Afton are increasingly including “autonomy” policies for principals in their strategic plans for academic achievement – meaning giving them more decision making authority. Often, this is in the form of bounded or earned autonomy, wherein principals receive additional decision making authority based on demonstrated readiness. For example, a… Continued

Improving Federal Funds Allocations to LEAs

In 2017, Afton worked with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to improve the agency’s process to allocate Title I Part A funding to its 400+ LEAs, and Afton shared its learning here. Since this initiative, Afton’s team has delved into federal funding allocation processes and identified common challenges in multiple states across over a… Continued

Afton Provides Recommendations for State Education Agencies on ESSA Financial Transparency Requirement

In February 2018, Afton Partners joined Edunomics Lab, the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) who hosted a one-day conference for over 30 State Education Agencies (SEAs). Afton led a session focused on how state agencies can play a role in fostering the usage of per-pupil financial data at the local level. We reflected on the role of State Education Agencies in fostering effective use of school site-based expenditure reporting. Our conclusion was that SEAs can do a lot to encourage effective use of this data, including training, issuing reporting guidance, clearly defining roles/responsibilities between state/local, and leading dialogue on the value of the reporting. Continued

Afton Completes Title I Review with Arizona Department of Education

Recently, Afton completed its engagement with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) with a plenary speech and breakout sessions at the annual MEGA conference for Title I administrators. The plenary speech provided an overview of the state’s corrected Title I allocation process for LEAs; further details and Q&A were provided in the breakout sessions. Earlier… Continued